Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Ridge Racer Game And Junk

Ah yes, Ridge Racer, we meet again.  Ridge Racer 6 came out in 2005 and now it's 2011.  Six years later, lol.

But first, there will be a Ridge Racer 7 on the Nintendo 3DS.  That's how Namco rolls--release a RR game for a new console's release, never in between.  At least there are seven Ridge Racers...compare to what I believe there are four Daytona USAs (1, 2, Championship Edition, Dreamcast).  But that doesn't matter cause Sega still has Scud Race, OutRun 2, Crazy Taxi, etc.

Now this I read from the Joystiq article (click here).  Tell me if you believe it's true: 

The Ridge Racer franchise has an odd knack for coinciding with platform launches. From the PS1 classic to the most recent Ridge Racer 7, capitalizing on the enthusiasm inherent with new hardware seems to be the series' bread and butter. It's clear why Namco chooses this strategy: it manages to obfuscate the franchise's lack of innovation with the technological advance each generational leap brings.

Does this seem harsh?  I mean, I haven't really delved into Ridge Racer until now, but don't all racing games play out the same way as before?  Like do you really expect Gran Turismo 4 to be that much different from 5?  Of course, read this guy's negative opinion about RR7 from the get-go.

And also from the Joystiq article, ALL SIX SECONDS OF RIDGE RACER 7 (in 2-D):

TBQH, just from looking at this brief clip, I was immediately reminded of OutRun 2 and that's kind of cool.

To see for myself what's the big deal with Ridge Racer, I decided to give the RR6 demo a spin.  The 600mb demo is still up on XBLA and I must've played that one race fifteen times over and over.  Now please be aware I know little to nothing about how the previous RR games play out.  Alright, here are my impressions.  But first, here's some gameplay footage:

For starters, the handling is not TOO bad.  It feels like a cross between OutRun 2, Initial D, and Gran Turismo.  You tap the brake and and spin around, but during slides, you have no idea whether you've "hooked it" or not.  Like the final turn in the RR6 demo, I would frequently just fly away from the apex of the turn despite doing the same thing I did for the rest of the race and would fall behind.  I guess maybe I have to play more often to get used to the controls.  Regardless, when you're not drifting, the car feels kind of bulky and sluggish.  It doesn't feel like you're in control like a Sega racer.

The game uses a "drift for nitrous" mechanic--just slide around like a hooligan to get NOS.  Seems cheesy cause there would be some turns I could take without drifting, but I would force myself to do so just to get that boost.

You can use manual or automatic transmission.  Now downshifting like in Daytona/OutRun doesn't do ANYTHING when it comes to drifts.  You do a little 6-5-6 or a 4-2-4, it doesn't initiate a drift.  So it all comes down to abusing the brake which is okay, but a little crappy.  MT actually has its uses because it seems if you shift to a lower gear while sliding, you regain your speed much faster.  When trying out AT, I see that the game would often sit in a higher gear when it shouldn't so MT does has its purposes.

The audio--oh my goodness.  You like really bad BD Joe impersonators telling you about nitrous and how awesome you are cause you caught two feet of air?  Well, no one does.  The way he screams "three, two, one" and other stuff, just kill me already.  The music isn't too bad--it's some techno trance stuff, but nowhere near as memorable as the Daytona/OutRun soundtracks.  As for the car SFX, there's nothing I thought was too outstanding.

Graphically, this game is okay.  Obviously, it's a launch title so it's somewhat outdated.  The track and car designs aren't that spectacular.  They don't blow me away like a Sega game.  They're not that detailed and/or colorful.  Driving around in the demo track, I see that they incorporated some detail here and there, but I wasn't delightfully surprised by it.

The sense of speed is alright but unfortunately in the demo, the cars only go 160 mph/255 kph.  In the real game, I assume they can be upgraded to Scud Race speeds (220 mph/355 kph).  The car selection consists of a bunch of Burnout/Split-Second phony baloney overly-shined cars with a bunch of logos referencing past Namco characters.  You want to drive the red Mitsurugi car, be my guest.

The camera angles are damn weird.  You only have two--on the hood or close chase cam.  I go with the close chase since I enjoy the third-person view the most.  Unfortunately, this camera view sucks.  When you drift, the camera always faces DIRECTLY BEHIND your rear bumper.  Compare it to OutRun or Daytona where the camera faces WHERE YOU'RE GOING.  In other words in RR6, you never see the side of your car.  It gets on my damn nerves cause in RR, it swerves back and forth so much.

Not to mention that wall collisions in RR6 are rather weird.  If you clip a wall, you bounce off of it in the most peculiar way.  If you're drifting in the chase cam and the rear scrapes a wall, it starts to fidget all over the place.  What the hell is this.

I eventually came in first.  My best 1st lap time was 1:10 and my 2nd/3rd was 1:01.  Okay, try me.

Overall, despite the fact that Ridge Racer, Daytona USA, and OutRun 2 look similar, they really aren't.  It's hard to put a finger on it, but Ridge Racer 6 feels...well...rigid.  Like when I do something right or wrong, it's hard to tell what I did to invoke this.  Handling doesn't feel as "authentic."  If I were to buy this game and play it for a long time, would I have fun?  Yes.  Do I wish it were a Sega racer?  Yes, sadly.  So if the Ridge Racer series needs to change, just fix some of the things I said, make it loosey goosey, and don't rely on this Fast and the Furious/Tokyo Drift crap in order to sell games.

You can read GameSpot's 8.1 review if you are so inclined...

And now you know the whole story...


Speaking of which, there will also be a Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing 3DS game, thanks model3 for pointing it out...


  1. Hi Eric, here are some of the latest arcade releases including footage of Sonic Allstars Arcade & FNF Superbikes/Supercars.


  2. Thanks man, nice video. What's that vehicle in FnF Supercars, a Spiderman car?